- Balanced, flat and homogeneous sound, free from undesirable peaks.
- Large, wide, present and complete middle zone.
- Extension of the upper zone.
- Very pleasant tone.
- Very good cable.
- Construction and softness of the capsules.
- Its flat profile can be dull or boring.
- The softness of its sound, reduces the dynamism of reproduction.
- It does not have a storage box.
Link to the Store
Once again, I’m going to look at a product from Tin HiFi, the brand established in the Guangdong province of China, created in 2017. This time, it is the new Tin HiFi T2 Plus model, which could be an improved version of its previous T2 and T2 Pro models, although the aesthetic differences are quite large. For this occasion, Tin Hifi has used a dynamic 10mm NanoPure nickel-zinc alloy driver, located inside a high quality matt aluminium capsule. It seems that the T2 Plus model is the last iteration of the T2 line. Its tuning is based on the P1 and T4 models. We have sought a precise image and a good and pleasant tonal response, seeking the highest possible fidelity. The high frequencies have been slightly softened, but without losing the ability to extract details. In the middle zone, the aim has been to gain in linearity to reproduce it in a neutral way, so that the instruments sound as natural as possible. Finally, the lower zone has been tuned to extend even below 10Hz, to gain in strength and depth.
Under these premises, the redesign of a very soft, rounded capsule, which allows a deeper adjustment and up to 32dB of sound insulation, together with the 4-strand cable, built in 22AWG copper and silver plated, Tin HiFi has created the T2 Plus, with the idea of satisfying the most demanding listeners. We’ll see if they make it.
- Driver Type: 10mm Dynamic Woofer
- Frequency Response: 10-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 104±3bBdB @1kHz 0.126V
- Impedance: 32Ω±15%
- Distortion Ratio: 1% @1kHz 0.126V
- Nominal power: 3mW
- Maximum power: 5mW
- Jack connector: 3.5mm black carbon multi dimensional heavy plug
- Conductor/cable: 1.25m (22/0.06AS Silver-plated Enameled+200D Kevlar)*4, Transparent Super Soft PVC Cable
- Capsule Connection Type: Gold Plated MMCX
The T2 Plus comes in a completely white rectangular box. Its measures are 140x78x44mm. On the main side you can only read «T2 Plus» in the upper right corner and the brand logo in the lower left corner. Both inscriptions are gilded. On the back side there are several barcodes and the respective logos, with the different certifications. After opening the box, a thick, blue-coloured hardcover case appears. The surface is soft and has a sandy micro texture. The golden logo of the brand appears, again, in the centre. At the base, there is a golden stripe, which surrounds it completely. After lifting the lid, the two capsules can be seen, placed in a thick foam mould. Under it, there are several plastic bags, which contain the rest of the accessories. In short, the content is:
- The two capsules.
- 6 pairs of white silicone tips, two pairs per size SxMxL.
- 1 pair of grey foam tips, medium size.
- 1 cable of 4 strands.
- A guarantee card.
- Instruction manual
I miss a transport box, which protects the IEMS when we store them or take them to the street. On the other hand, the packaging is very compact, well laid out and with enough tips. The cable is quite good quality. Too bad there is not even a small bag to store the headphones.
Construction and Design
The capsules have a shape, which has been widely used at famous IEMS in this price segment, which is an oval, with very smooth edges, resembling a drop of water, where the cable connection is almost at one end and is completely integrated into the capsule itself. They are made of matt aluminium, whose external texture is slightly rough, at micro level. It is easy to see that the capsules have two parts, because the division of both runs along the entire edge. The outer side has no inscription, but there is a hole at the bottom of the capsule. On the inner side are the nozzles, located near the end. At their feet, there is another hole. Beyond this is the letter that identifies the channel, in dark grey ink. On the upper edge, in white ink, you can read «TINHIFI» and a code of letters and numbers, below. At the end, there is the MMCX connection, embedded in the body of the capsule. The nozzles have three diameters, the outer and largest measuring 5.5mm, while its total height is about 4.5mm. The inside of the nozzles is protected by a very dense metal grid with microscopic holes. The body feels very solid, soft and beautiful. The cable’s MMCX connector sleeve has the same texture and colour. Between the connection, to identify the channel, there is a plastic ring: the red one is the right side and the transparent one is the left side. At the end of these sleeves, there is a coating that softly hardens the cable to shape it over the ear. The cable adjustment pin is a transparent plastic ball. The dividing piece is a metal cylinder, built along the lines of the IEMS. It has the brand logo, inscribed in the centre, in white ink. Finally, the plug is 3.5m audio, with a sleeve that has a wide rugged band. A soft grey velcro strip helps to collect the cable during storage. The cable has 4 strands of silver-plated 22AWG copper. Each strand of the cable is wrapped in Kevlar 200D, helping to reduce microphony and increase its life span, without losing its softness and flexibility.
In conclusion, the construction is remarkable, although the design has become somewhat redundant of late. On the other hand, the cable is really good, far outperforming many of its direct rivals.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The extremely smooth shape of its curves, associated with the surface texture, promotes a comfortable fit. Depending on the depth of the insertion, which our anatomy allows, the adjustment will be simple and more or less durable. In my case, the insertion is superficial, which gives some extra, but undesirable, freedom: the turning or rotation of the capsule within the ear. This effect has no negative effect on the comfort of the product, but it does influence the sound. If the bottom hole is blocked, the bass response is drastically reduced. This effect can occur, if any part of our ears matches this hole. On the other hand, if the inner hole is covered, the effect is completely opposite, increasing the amount of bass. In this way, the adjustment can affect the final sound of the set. In my case, I must be careful not to cover the lower hole, so as not to lose bass response, which I achieve by slightly rotating the capsules, simply by pulling the cable behind my ears.
In short, the ergonomics are quite good, but the bass ports are not in the best position.
The profile of the T2 plus seeks neutrality, without losing presence in each range, but softening its response. The result is a fairly flat profile, which does not have excessive peaks, nor a predominant presence of any band.
From the brand itself, the T2 Plus are presented with a bass enhancement in comparison to their previous versions, emphasizing the deeper area, with the idea of gaining strength. And so it is, the desired depth is achieved, but I do not find that its response, in the lower zone, is predominant. Previously, I have spoken of the incidence that it supposes, to cover one or another port of bass. Perhaps, depending on the anatomy of each one or the tips used, I can obtain a more or less emphasized response, of the low range. In my case, I do not find that bass are perceived as very predominant. It’s true that they are not bass-light, but I don’t think they will satisfy bass lovers either. And that is something that can be seen in the frequency response itself.
The low zone is more focused on softness, than on its prominence. It is perceived to be quite linear, with good depth, without a persistent predominance of the mid zone, nor any bloating. This achieves a neutral sonority, which has good speed and a somewhat slower decay, without a negative residue, but which provides a certain warmth to the whole and a minimum intrusion, slightly perceptible, in the middle zone, fruit of the sought-after linearity. Its texture is not very pronounced, with a predominance of smoothness and homogeneity in reproduction. They are not IEMS that are lavished on the recreation of planes, as they do not stratify them too much, nor are they capable of desegregating them with sufficient precision. It is a version that has a good colour, pleasant, velvety sound and a good touch of depth, but it does not have the technical capacity to provide greater resolution, to represent the area in a more descriptive way, than clean.
A flatter profile, with an emphasis on the upper-middle zone, has a more explicit and descriptive central part than the rest. However, the texture still does not have a high resolution, which allows for a more extensive display of details. The representation remains soft, linear, fairly flat and smooth, without losing the pleasant feel that characterises the sound of the T2 Plus. The lower part of the range lacks a certain body that enhances the instruments in that area and enhances the male voices, due to the recession in that first half. In this way, the recreation feels thinner than full-bodied, but grateful for the tonal warmth it possesses. The mids are not completely boring or anodyne, but have enough delicacy to obtain a quantity of nuances and a remarkable realism, but without entering into an analytical field. The help comes, thanks to that second half enhanced, but in a controlled way. It is not a prominent V, but something more like a step in presence, a slight leap that emancipates the female voices and adds freshness, which is not lively, in those high mediums. And I want to comment on my feeling of non-liveness, in this upper zone: I have needed a lot of cerebral burining to get used to these T2 Plus. Initially, I found their sound quite flat, I missed more presence in the bass and a little more brightness from the middle onwards. But, of course, it’s not a V-shaped IEMS, but something more homogeneous and neutral. Inevitably, I have ended up succumbing to the virtues of these Tin HiFis, even though they don’t fit my preferences. In that sense, it’s worth noting the musicality, neutrality and balance they possess, which results in a very calm, smooth, well-executed and very pleasant listening, once you get into their flow. Although, I still think that the upper mids don’t have the expected spark, that glow that energizes the listening and the dressing of small details, polished and entertaining. The detail does exist, yes, but in a flush and filed way, making softness its most characteristic adjective. However, the most outstanding feature of the range is its width and the space occupied by both the voices and the instruments, offering a very relevant presence within the sound of the T2, making it bigger.
And what about the treble that I haven’t said about the upper mid-range. I could start at the end, praising their good extension and their contained excitement, which brings a placid and peaceful naturalness, without cold flashes or undesirable peaks. But I must also comment on that lack of brilliance and sparkle, which stirs up the music and my ears. Yes, this boy is nice and he will never make you look bad, nor will he cause you pain, but don’t expect him to jump or run, he is just a peaceful companion.
The T2 Plus scene is characterized by its almost excellent width. The image is semi-oval, limited in depth and height, as opposed to its wide opening. The notable sensation of musical cleanliness expands the stage, perceiving a good dose of free space and an appropriate level of instrumental recreation, without the precision, in that sense, being very remarkable. On the other hand, it is a question of offering continuity to the general smoothness, providing a fairly fluid, almost liquid music, where the details are exposed quite sufficiently in the midrange, a result that is more limited at the upper end.
NS Audio NS3
NS Audio is a reference brand for me. The two models I own are among my favourites in their range. The NS3 have a soft V-profile, with a warm trend and some darkness. Its low zone is more present than in the T2 Plus, however the highs, despite its nuance, are more easily presented in the T2, that makes the details have a more appreciable sparkle, something that covers the darkness and some hollow of the NS3.
Going back to the bass, the NS3 have a more accentuated roughness, which gives it a more attractive vibration, with greater descriptive power and a higher amount of nuances. The sub-bass feels quite deep, with a full, round body. The T2 seems faster, has good depth, but is smoother and softer. In addition, its sediment may not be as long as in the NS3. However, the depth and the feeling of darkness, contributes to the lower zone of the NS3 being more realistic and with a better timbre, as well as a more exciting and vivid colour, capable of recreating more planes and a more complex texture.
In the middle area, a higher density can be seen in the T2 Plus, with a wider and more complete presence. In the NS3 you can feel its profile a little more in V, where the sensation is lighter, a little more liberated, less intense. The choice of music genres can easily be made between IEMS and others, as these virtues can be enhanced, depending on the song. By virtue of the pieces that sound, T2 Plus can even be more dull than the NS3 and these have a greater dynamism and liveliness in the upper mid-range, offering a clearer and more exciting sound. On other occasions, T2 Plus offer a wider stage, where the NS3s are simpler and more uninspired. However, what is certain is that the T2 Plus are still characterised by softer, more homogeneous and more globally present mids.
The sonority of the treble is quite different, being thinner in the NS3, more trimmed in initial extension. Meanwhile, in the T2 Plus, they are flatter and wider, with a greater presence in those areas where the NS3 have holes. This gives the T2 Plus a greater richness in certain nuances, something that can turn against them when the treble to be reproduced is not so smooth.
The T2 Plus scene is quite wide, as is the NS3, but the NS3 has more depth and height. Also, their lower density, makes a greater separation more appreciable.
Finally, I have found that the T2 plus are more dependent on the source used: some make their sound flatter and more boring, while others seem to «brighten up» their profile more. The NS3s do not have this dependence.
I have gone through many phases during my tests with the Tin HiFi T2 Plus. But I have to be honest: my first opinion about them was somewhat disappointing. Coming from the T4, with a more analytical profile and its lower zone more present, I found the T2 Plus, quite flat and boring. Little by little, I’ve been burning my brain to get used to their duller profile, but also softer and more homogeneous…peaceful, above all. And that’s what I highlight most about them. Within its smoothness, its width predominates without shocks, but without it decreasing, hardly, any frequency. And this is a great virtue, since it is not easy to find such a well-rounded, balanced and extensive profile. From the deepest area, the T2 Plus do not lose the kindness that characterizes them, not even in the highs, conserving a remarkable dose of details and nuances, besides offering a noticeable scene and a superb sensation of separation. And what can we say about their excellent mids… Then, my advice is clear: leave the blond one and move to the silver one.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate
- xDuoo XP-2Pro
- xDuoo X3II
- JWD JWM-115